RENO—As a road underdog in the playoffs, strong starts are almost vital.
Among the adjectives to describe Reed’s start at Bishop Manogue in Tuesday’s DI North quarterfinal contest, few of them would be positive. And it cost them their season in a 87-54 loss.
The Raiders committed 14 first-quarter turnovers and the Miners’ Tawni Henderson scored 14 straight points (4-for-4 from deep) to cap a 17-0 run to start the contest. The guests never recovered.
“We can’t do that against that team, there’s no way,” Reed coach Sara Schopper-Ramirez said. “It’s youth. It’s my last time saying it. It is youth. I just told them, ‘I’m not saying that next year.’”
The Raiders, who started three freshmen and two sophomores in the season-ending loss, finished the season 11-10 overall after finishing fourth in the High Desert League. Bishop Manogue, the Sierra League champion, improved to 19-1 and advanced to the semifinals on Thursday against Douglas at Spanish Springs.
The Miners’ first-year coach Carlnel Wiley said he couldn’t have asked for a better start in the quarterfinal win.
“You want that don’t you? It’s fun to watch when we’re moving the ball, sharing the ball, playing as a team,” Wiley said. “There’s nothing else that needs to be said.”
Reed did not hit a field goal until freshman point guard Vanessa Hernandez hit a runner in the lane with 2:33 left in the first. Her bucket left the Raiders down 23-3.
Turnovers were the largest reason for the lopsided start and final margin. After committing 14 in the first quarter, Reed finished with 36 to just Manogue’s 18.
And it didn’t help the Raiders’ cause that the Miners put on an early shooting clinic. They hit six of their first seven triples and finished 9-of-21 from deep.
“That’s what happens when you get home court advantage,” Schopper-Ramirez conceded.
The lead grew as large as 29-3 (the largest of the first half) in the first quarter before Reed closed on a mini 5-0 spurt.
LT Nixon hit a layup midway through the second quarter to balloon the lead back to 26, 37-11, before the Raiders took a 40-20 deficit to the half.
The deficit methodically grew in the second half, reaching 37 twice in the fourth quarter, before the 33-point final margin.
Henderson led all scorers with 30 points, 18 of which came from behind the arc.
“Hey, little red,” Wiley said. “About time. That girl, she wants it so bad. Dog gonnit, she works so hard.”
Katie Turner had 20 and Malia Holt had 15.
For Reed, Taylor Johnson led the way with 11 points. Serene Townsell-Williams had 10 and Hernandez had nine.
While Schopper-Ramirez would’ve liked to advance, she knew this year was going to filled with learning experiences. There was not one senior on the roster this winter and this year’s starting five figures to be in place the next two years.
“I think we grew a lot,” Schopper-Ramirez said. “It would’ve been nice not to play Manogue right off the bat, but I think if any team had to do it, it was a good learning experience for us.”
Tuesday’s quarterfinal scores
Bishop Manogue (Sierra League No. 1) 87, Reed (High Desert League No. 4) 54
Douglas (SL No. 3) 59, McQueen (HDL No. 2) 49
Reno (HDL No. 1) 74, Carson (SL No. 4) 11
Damonte Ranch (SL No. 2) 58, North Valleys (HDL No. 3) 53
Thursday’s semifinal matchups (at Spanish Springs)
Reno vs. Damonte Ranch, 5:30 p.m.
Bishop Manogue vs. Douglas. 7:15 p.m.